Impairment of individual finger movements in patients with hand dystonia



We investigated finger movements in patients with hand dystonia to compare the kinematics of repetitive individual and non-individual finger oppositions. We used an optoelectronic motion analysis system to record movements in 3-D space, and recorded three 5-second trials for each task, counting how many finger oppositions subjects carried out during each trial, and measured the duration and amplitude of flexions, extensions, and pauses. During tasks, normal subjects and patients carried out finger flexions faster than extensions, and invariably they paused longer before extension than before flexion. Patients were slower and paused longer than controls during both individual and non-individual oppositions. During individual finger movements, patients were disproportionately slow during extension and pause before extension. Patients with hand dystonia perform finger movements abnormally; they are affected predominantly during individual oppositions. This finding reflects the finer cortical control needed to promote and sustain this highly fractionated type of motor output, and points toward underactivity of the primary motor cortex in dystonia. © 2004 Movement Disorder Society